CTE’s Impact on Training and Educating the Future Workforce – Including Teachers.
February is career and technical education (CTE) month – a time to celebrate all the CTE programs across the country that are preparing students to be college- and career-ready. Even more importantly, it’s a time for all educators, administrators, business owners, parents, and policymakers to recognize the importance of CTE and how it has changed over the years. The Future Educators Association®, a federally recognized Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO), supports CTE programs of study that prepare students for careers in education.
Last year, Glenn Cummings, the former deputy assistance secretary for the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE), wrote an article explaining that CTE is not the same thing as the older, more well-known “vocational education.” (Download a PDF of the Cummings article). CTE prepares high school students to be ready for careers or college, depending on their aspirations and dreams for the future. In this article, Cummings said, “[In CTE], it is now possible for a student to be on a path to almost any job that he or she can conceive of doing. [CTE] programs of study are designed to ensure that all students will have the necessary skills to enter either college or a career by integrating applied learning, higher academic expectations, and technical coursework that will lead to student success.”
CTE programs and their CTSO counterparts are transforming the way we educate the future workforce. The programs and opportunities offered through CTE and CTSOs allow students to engage in hands-on, in-depth learning that will help them develop the leadership and problem-solving skills that are necessary for success.
CTE and CTSOs are preparing students to become educators, business professionals, marketing executives, health care providers, engineers, and so much more. On Feburary 2, US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in an interview, “For all its importance, the role that CTE plays in building the nation’s economic vitality often gets overlooked. Too many educators assume that career and technical training is for the last century, not this one. Many reformers treat CTE as old school, rather than as a potential source of cutting-edge preparation for careers.” CTE is building our future leaders.
In President Obama’s State of the Union Address last month, he challenged young people to rise to the challenge facing our schools: “…to every young person listening tonight who’s contemplating their career choice, if you want to make a difference in the life of our nation, if you want to make a difference in the life of a child, become a teacher. Your nation needs you.” CTE programs of study that focus on preparing students for college and careers in education, and that partner with the Future Educators Association, help answer this call.
What do you know about CTE and how are you supporting it in your community? Take time this month to learn more about these programs and what they can do for the future of our country.
Jeanne Storm is the Associate Executive Director of PDK International and oversees the Future Educators Association®, a member of the PDK family of associations. The Future Educators Association® is a federally-recognized CTSO that enhances the co-curricular program for students interested in education-related careers by providing personal growth opportunities through recognition and leadership activities directly related to the education profession.